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(FreedomWire.org) – Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana got it right: Over the past two years, President Joe Biden stalled domestic energy production, begged Saudi Arabia to send more oil to America and drained the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — all in his effort to lower gas prices in advance of the 2022 election.

It’s at the point where the national oil reserve created in 1975 to be available in the event of a national emergency is becoming its own emergency.

Under the Biden administration, the midterm election and spiking gasoline prices created a political crisis for Democrats, one that the president solved by draining 42% of what was in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when he took office.

Biden abused the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, says Rep. Stephanie Brice of Oklahoma. The 638 million barrels of emergency oil in January of 2021 is down to 371 million barrels in January of 2023.

How much is that in real terms? 371 million barrels is not much more than one barrel per American, which will make enough gasoline to power your car for 280 miles, give or take a hill.

Biden said just before the November election that the administration would, after 18 months of draining the reserve, begin to refill it in the first quarter of 2023. The Department of Energy put out contracts to buy three million barrels of oil from producers at a price between $70-$78 a barrel. It was not much, but it was a start of less than 1%.

The bidding period closed in late December and bids were to be reviewed and awarded on Jan. 13, with deliveries expected to be poured back into Big Hill Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Beaumont, Texas, in February.

It would restore less than 1% of what has been removed from the emergency supply by the administration, but it was a start.

Quietly in January, the Department of Energy decided it did not have any acceptable bids, and simply awarded no bids, without an explanation. There will be no three million barrels put back into the SPR this round and the Department of Energy has clammed up about it.

Reasonable people ask why. While DOE won’t say so, producers don’t think $70 is an attractive price, when all signals point to oil being priced on the exchanges in the $80-$95 range for the foreseeable future. Crude oil prices surged to their highest in seven weeks earlier this week.

House Resolution 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, would put side rails on the Department of Energy by prohibiting the release of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for political purposes. At this point, it appears H.R. 21 is going to get Christmas-treed with as many as 100 amendments and it may lose its momentum or get killed altogether.

The president has vowed to veto the bill in the unlikely event it makes its way to his desk. “He will not allow the American people to suffer because of the backwards agenda that House Republicans are advancing,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a White House briefing. H.R. 21, she said, “risks raising these gas prices and making it harder to offer Americans relief in the future.”

Biden wants Americans to believe he has lowered gas prices. Here are the facts: In 2021, gas averaged $3.01 a gallon. Today, gas in America averages $3.50, a nearly 17% increase.

Time is marching on for this president. It’s year three of his first term. He promised he’d put oil back in the SPR, and now he cannot deliver on that promise.

While his policies continue to suppress domestic energy production, and demand around the world is exceeding supply, the president has made the nation a less secure place because he traded our national security for power — his own political power.

(FreedomWire.org) – Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm claimed Monday that “international and climate events” were to blame for price increases at the pump.

“It’s obviously based upon international and climate events, so, for example, Winter Storm Elliot pulled two million barrels off the U.S. market,” Granholm said during a White House press briefing. “That crimp in supply causes prices to go up.”

The average price of a gallon of gas is $3.423, up from $3.096 a month ago, according to AAA. Biden has taken credit for lower gas prices in the past, even though a gallon of gas cost an average of $2.1218 on Nov. 3, 2020.

Biden and the White House have often called increased gas prices the “Putin price hike,” but some experts have said Biden’s hostility to fossil fuel production has fueled higher gas prices. The Biden administration revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline in January 2021 and cancelled an offshore lease sale in May after issuing new regulations for onshore drilling for oil and natural gas.

Biden authorized the sale of up to 180 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in March, following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. The reserve is down to its lowest level since the 1980s, Forbes reported.

“Biden and Secretary Granholm have created an energy crisis by crippling American energy, sending U.S. jobs overseas, and depleting our SPR,” Senate Republicans said in a release.

The Strategic Production Response Act was introduced in the House earlier this month. It would require the Energy Department to develop a plan to increase the percentage of federal areas leased for gas and oil production before releasing oil from the reserve.

Granholm said President Biden will veto a House bill regulating U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve withdrawals.

Granholm said that such proposals risk raising gas prices and are “simply nonstarters,” according to the official White House transcript.

“So I’ll be very clear: If Congress were to pass H.R. 21 (the Strategic Production Response Act), the president would veto it. He will not allow the American people to suffer because of the backwards agenda that House Republicans are advancing.”

(FreedomWire.org) – FOX News White House correspondent Peter Doocy challenged National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Monday at the White House press briefing and asked why the president would prefer U.S. oil companies drill in Venezuela for oil rather than in the United States. Doocy asked if President Biden believes there is “some benefit to the climate” to drill for oil in Venezuela and not in the United States.

Doocy asked, “Why is it that President Biden would rather let U.S. companies drill for oil in Venezuela than here in the U.S.?”

John Kirby responded, “That’s not an accurate take on the President’s view.”

Doocy gave an example, “Earlier this month, he said, “No more drilling. There is no more drilling.”

Kirby tried to argue what Biden had said, “The President has issued 9,000 permits for drilling on U.S. federal lands, Peter; 9,000 of them are being unused. There are plenty of opportunities for oil and gas companies to drill here in the United States.” He continued with, “I’ll let Chevron speak for this particular issue of sanctions relief, but our expectation is it won’t be a lot of oil coming out of there. It will have to be shipped to the United States.”

Doocy continued to try to get an answer on why we would need oil from Venezuela, “Does the President think there’s some benefit to the climate to drill oil in Venezuela and not here?”

Kirby answered, “It has nothing to do with a benefit to the climate, Peter. Again, there are 9,000 unused permits here in the United States on federal land that oil and gas companies can and should take advantage of. Nine thousand. And we’re talking about one there in Venezuela. Now, look, it remains to be seen how much will get drilled down there. It’ll be up to Chevron to decide that, Peter. But — but as a function of the sanction itself, that oil, whatever product is drilled, has to come to the United States.”

Now the White House is facing criticism over Kirby suggested there are plenty of available oil drilling permits that energy companies are choosing not to utilize. 

ClimateDepot.com publisher Marc Morano joined “Fox & Friends First” Tuesday to discuss the issues surrounding the permit process and the broader impact of Biden’s policies on the energy market. 

“They had defunded the oil and gas industry from day one through executive orders, through the Treasury Department, through pushing environment, social governance, ESG,” Mauro told co-host Carley Shimkus. “And they’ve also allowed these environmental groups in sometimes in collusion with the feds to sue.”

“So they give a permit, but then they get tied up for years and years and years, and the funding is questionable, and of course, the future permits are questionable, so that is just a red herring argument,” he continued. 

“It’s not like the Biden administration is opposed to energy extraction and drilling, no, they’re just opposed to it domestically for cheap political accounting tricks that claim that they’re fighting global warming while offshoring,” Mauro said. “This is something that Americans have to recognize.”

Former Keystone XL Pipeline worker Neil Crabtree, who lost his job when Biden shut down the pipeline, joined “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday to discuss how red tape has hampered the ability to secure drilling permits. 

“I think it’s a bit of a smoke and mirrors,” Crabtree told Steve Doocy. “There’s a huge difference between the government making leases available and actually issuing the permits. There may be 1,000 spots that we could drill, but the same administration that’s making the leases available also control the permits. And right now, the permitting process in this country is ridiculous.”

“There’s probably a dozen different agencies that have their hands in it, and any one of them can shut you down at any time,” he continued. “I would really like to see something done where one agency controlled the permitting for all energy projects in this country, but that’s probably something that another president will have to tackle.”

Crabtree also mentioned his disappointment in the Biden administration’s willingness to invest in another nation’s energy industry, namely Venezuela’s, while refusing to do the same for American companies. 

“I guess when you support socialist ideas, you support socialist countries,” he said. 

(FreedomWire.org) – “Drill in America–not Venezuela,” tweeted Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Sunday. But the Biden administration isn’t listening.

On Saturday, the Biden Treasury Department announced it would allow Chevron to “resume limited natural resource extraction operations in Venezuela.” The oil will be exported to the United States.

The announcement said the “targeted sanctions relief” is based on “concrete steps” taken by the socialist Maduro regime to “restore democracy in the country.”

The announcement drew snorts from the many critics of President Biden’s refusal to drill domestically.

“Just one more anti-American act by the Biden administration,” former House Speaker Newt Gringrich told “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning.

“You know, Texas doesn’t have a dictatorship problem. North Dakota doesn’t have a dictatorship problem. Western Pennsylvania doesn’t have dictatorship problem. Why is it that the place they select to buy more oil happens to have a dictatorship, and by the way, the idea that he is going to give up the dictatorship because Biden lets him pump oil is just silly.

“But watch them with Iran, watch them with Saudi Arabia. He’s now forgiven the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia for the killing of a journalist because he wants the oil. Again and again you see the Biden administration make decisions which hurt Americans.

“They’ve also been going around the world promising to give away billions of dollars to dictatorships in the name of climate change. But These are dictatorships that are corrupt and that we have no reason to believe American taxpayers owe them a penny.

“So there’s a continuing process here of weakening America and finding a way to help dictators.”

Gingrich said the Biden administration appears to want a “weaker and weaker America.”

“You will notice that they have not intervened on behalf of the Iranian demonstrators, for example. And their whole policy on natural gas and oil verges on insane. We could be supplying western Europe with a huge volume of American natural gas, which would bring us money, which would strengthen western Europe, which would weaken Russia. 

“We’re not doing any of that, and the result is that western Europeans this winter are going to face a very severe problem, and I think their relationship with us is going to weaken just because of the pain level.” 

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) told “Fox News Sunday” there’s no reason to deal with dictators when we have plenty of oil in this country:

“You know, the energy crisis that we’re facing right now in America, much of that has been self-imposed by decisions that were made by this administration early on to shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline, further delaying the permitting process here domestically.

“I don’t know why we’re going to communist dictatorship. We’re begging OPEC+ to increase production when we have energy right here in America to get the job done.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tweeted: “Rather than creating jobs and unleashing our energy, Biden is willing to buy dirty oil from the brutal socialist regime in Venezuela. We should be doing everything in our power to make America energy dominant.”

(FreedomWire.org) – Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and are accusing America of making a fortune from the war in Ukraine according to a report from Politico. Some of the officials swiping at Biden remained anonymous while others did so publicly.

“The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told politico.

“We are really at a historic juncture,” the official added before complaining about trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

The EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said, “Americans, our friends, take decisions which have an economic impact on us.”

An NSC spokesperson said:

“The rise in gas prices in Europe is caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s energy war against Europe, period.

“The increase in global LNG supplies, led by the United States, helped European allies and partners get storage levels to an encouraging place ahead of this winter, and we will continue to work with the EU, its members, and other European countries to ensure sufficient supplies will be available for winter and beyond.”

European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said: 

“The United States sells us its gas with a multiplier effect of four when it crosses the Atlantic.

“Of course the Americans are our allies, but when something goes wrong it is necessary also between allies to say it.”

Other European officials were furious with Biden over his trade and subsidy policies.

“The Inflation Reduction Act is very worrying,” said Dutch Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher. 

“The potential impact on the European economy is very big.”

“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.

According to Politico:

It wasn’t until Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode.

“The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”

For Biden, the legislation is a historic climate achievement.

“While we understand that some trading partners have concerns with how the [electric vehicle] tax credit provisions in the IRA will operate in practice with respect to their producers, we are committed to continuing to work with them to better understand and do what we can to address their concerns,” the NSC spokesperson said. 

“This is not a zero-sum game. The IRA will grow the pie for clean energy investments, not split it.” 

But the EU sees that differently. An official from France’s foreign affairs ministry said the diagnosis is clear: These are “discriminatory subsidies that will distort competition.”

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire this week even accused the U.S. of going down China’s path of economic isolationism, urging Brussels to replicate such an approach. “Europe must not be the last of the Mohicans,” he said.

(FreedomWire.org) – US negotiators agreed Sunday to pay “climate” reparations to “developing” countries to punish Americans for their success and reward a handful of extremely rich people who live in those countries.

Pakistan, which spearheaded a group of 134 developing nations pushing for loss and damage payments, provided a fresh reminder of the destructive forces of climate change. Over the summer, Pakistan suffered devastating flooding that scientists say was made worse by global warming, resulting in more than 1,500 deaths, plunging one-third of the country underwater and causing $30 billion in damages, even as Pakistan contributes less than 1 percent of the world’s planet-warming emissions.

What caused the devastating flooding, other than Pakistan being located in a region that has been hit by heavy rains regularly since humans first kept records, is deforestation and social incompetence. It might make them feel better to blame other people for the tragedy, but the logical and foreseeable consequences of Pakistan’s failed state status made the flood inevitable.

The Wall Street Journal gives the best description

John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, dismissed the idea earlier this month: “It’s a well-known fact that the United States and many other countries will not establish . . . some sort of legal structure that is tied to compensation or liability. That’s just not happening.” But on Thursday Europe abandoned the U.S. by proposing a deal, and Mr. Kerry rolled over.

Wealthy countries will now set up a fund to cover climate damage for the least developed countries—i.e., not China or middle-income nations. This will be financed from “a broad donor base” and “mosaic of solutions,” such as international development banks and taxes on aviation, shipping and fossil fuels.

Europe hopes this will induce poor countries to reduce emissions to meet the Paris target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The world has already warmed by 1.1 degrees, and a U.N. report last month estimated temperatures would rise 1.8 degrees even if Western countries meet their “net-zero” goals.

But China emits two-thirds more CO2 than Europe and the U.S. combined. Coal accounts for 60% of China’s power generation, and more new coal plants are set for approval through 2025 than the entire existing U.S. fleet. China says it needs more coal power for energy security and, unlike Europe and the U.S., it won’t commit climate suicide.

This is a stupid and unworkable policy agreed to by stupid people who allegedly represent our nation’s interests. The saving grace is that with a new GOP Congressional majority, there is slight chance of the money for this travesty being appropriated. However, it points to a larger problem. We should not be a party to stupid activities like this. If we do decide to be a party to them, we can’t have whatever John Kerry is supposed to be representing our interests when the are only focused on consensus.

Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) introduced a bill that would defund President Joe Biden‘s special presidential envoy for climate — a position currently held by former Secretary of State John Kerry.

The bill is officially titled ‘The No Taxpayer Funding For Climate Zealots Advancing Radical Schemes Act,’’ or the ‘‘No Taxpayer Funding For CZARS Act.” Original co-sponsors include GOP Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Thomas Massie (KY), Lauren Boebert (CO), Scott Perry (PA), Mary Miller (IL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Andy Biggs (AZ), and Greg Steube (FL).

“Hardworking Americans are struggling every day to afford gas and electricity because of the disastrous energy policies peddled by hysterical fools like John Kerry,” Roy said.

Recently, Kerry told a crowd at the University of Southern California’s Center of Public Diplomacy that despite the high price of gasoline, Americans should not increase oil production, Fox News reported.

“No, we don’t,” he said in reference to those who advocate for more drilling. “We absolutely don’t. And we have to prevent a false narrative from entering into this.”

Kerry has held his position as Biden’s climate czar since the beginning of his presidency. In August 2021, Fox News reported that Kerry’s “family jet has already emitted 30 times the amount of carbon emitted by a typical passenger vehicle per year.”  The report cited flight data reviewed by the outlet and found “the jet emitted an estimated 138 metric tons of carbon on trips dating from Jan. 10 to Aug. 6.” That means Kerry’s jet “emitted 30 times the amount of carbon emitted by a typical passenger vehicle per year,” Fox added.

Roy’s bill officially reads, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be used for the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, including for salary, administrative, and travel expenses of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and for any other activity of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.”

(FreedomWire.org) – The White House is still trying to walk back remarks Joe Biden made last week about shutting down coal plants, suggesting Monday that the comments were too hard to hear to be understood, and have been twisted.

While speaking in Southern California at the corporate headquarters of Viasat in to promote the CHIPS and Science Act, Biden on Friday very clearly said “we’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar.” The CHIPS and Science Act was signed into law in August to provide $50 billion in incentives to the domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.

Biden seemed to suggest that the United States’ would be transitioning to so-called “clean energy” partly because of the high cost of coal.

“No one is building new coal plants, because they can’t rely on it, even if they have all the coal guaranteed for the rest of their existence of the plant, so it’s going to become a wind generation,” Biden said. “And all they’re doing is they’re going to save them a hell of a lot of money using the same transition line that transmits coal fire electric,” he claimed, before stating that the U.S. would be “shutting these plants down all across America.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Saturday ripped Biden for making what he called “offensive and disgusting” comments that ignored the “severe economic pain” Americans are feeling because of rising energy costs.

“Being cavalier about the loss of coal jobs for men and women in West Virginia and across the country who literally put their lives on the line to help build and power this country is offensive and disgusting,” Manchin said.

The Democrat demanded that Biden apologize to coal workers.

“Comments like these are the reason the American people are losing trust in President Biden and instead believes he does not understand the need to have an all in energy policy that would keep our nation totally energy independent and secure,” he said.

Later on Saturday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre put out a statement accusing critics of twisting his comments: “The president’s remarks yesterday have been twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offense,” she said.

Jean-Pierre was still in damage control mode on Monday, as she struggled from the White House podium to explain Biden’s remarks. This time she seemed to suggest that it was too hard to hear Biden’s message due to loud noises in the room.

“So we just wanted to be very clear, uh, on that, which is why we, uh, put out a statement. Seems like there was uh, some confusion, uh, on that. And so, uh, but you know, uh, I want to say this. It was—some of you were there. It was loud and hard to hear, I think, or maybe not exactly what [heavy sigh] what, uh, was being said, but I currently don’t want to get into punditry from here and why we did it, or unintelligible did it on T.V.

But I spoke to this over the weekend. The president’s words, we believe, were twisted, um, and we were very clear about that, and anybody who knows Joe Biden, knows that he comes from coal, uh, coal country, from Scranton, Pennsylvania. His great grandfather was a mining engineer as you all know.”

Reading from her notes, Jean Pierre continued a bit more smoothly: “President Biden knows that the men and women of coal country built this nation, and he has spent his presidency fighting for coal communities so that they too  can benefit from the energy transition we’re in right now.”

However, Biden’s hostility toward the energy sector is well documented, even if it’s not a narrative Democrats need ahead of the midterm elections as Americans struggle to make ends meet.

During a campaign event in New Hampshire in December of 2019, Biden said coal miners should “learn how to program,” and fossil fuel executives should go to jail. “Anybody who can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well…Give me a break! Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for god’s sake!” Biden said.

Biden said guidelines were needed to hold fossil fuel executives “liable” for alleged pollution “particularly in those cases where your underserved neighborhoods and you know the deal,” and threatened: “when they don’t unintelligible we’ll put them in jail—I’m not joking!”

The media did not “twist” Biden’s words. He has repeated time and time again, that he wants to eliminate fossil fuels.

(FreedomWire.org) – President Joe Biden traveled to Westchester County, New York Sunday evening to deliver remarks at a Democrat campaign event.

With just two days to go until a high-stakes midterm election, Joe Biden confirmed he is for “no more drilling.”

“No more drilling. There is no more drilling. I haven’t formed any new drilling,” Biden said to the climate change protester.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) clapped and supported Biden’s war on domestic oil.

A few days ago Joe Biden said he was going to shut down all coal plants across the US.

The White House attempted damage control and tried to ‘clarify’ Biden’s statement after major backlash.

Will the White House walk back this statement too?

While Biden chatted with hecklers he nearly fell on stage.

‘Oops, stepping on a – hmm – it’s black. Anyway,’ Biden said after he nearly fell.

Biden was interrupted by several protesters. They were swiftly escorted out of the venue.

‘Let ’em holler. Let ’em holler,’ the president dismissed. ‘That’s more like my generation, alright. I’m with ya.’

The president was forced to stop mid-story when audience members brought his attention to someone requiring medical attention.

‘Okay, I got it, I got it,’ Biden said when the audience got frantic over the fainting spell. ‘Let’s get a little bit of help here. Someone fainted. I’ve got it, I’ve got it. We’ll get some help over here.’

It was one disaster after another. No wonder more democratic candidates didn’t want Biden to come campaign with them.

(FreedomWire.org) – Speaking from the White House Wednesday afternoon, President Joe Biden announced the release of an additional 15 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The announcement extends the depletion of the reserve into December as the Biden administration’s war on domestic drilling and forced transition to unreliable alternative energy continues.

When asked by reporters whether the move is political, with gas prices remaining high and cutting into family budgets just three weeks before the 2022 midterm elections, Biden got angry and berated Republicans.

“It’s not politically motivated at all,” Biden said. “It’s motivated to make sure that I continue to push on what I’ve been pushing on, and that is making sure there’s enough oil that’s being pumped by the companies so that we have the ability to be able to produce enough gas that we need here at home, oil we need here at home and at the same time keep moving in a direction of providing for alternative energy.”

The reserve contains about 400 million barrels of oil, and could suffer further depletion as the administration has the option to make additional releases. Which is why many view this move as politically motivated.

Republicans have been firing back and warning of the dangers Biden is imposing on the country by depleting the reserve.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to blame Putin for the price of oil. Peter Schiff points out that the price of oil was up long before Putin’s invasion.

Biden also claimed that his administration has not stopped or slowed production of oil in the U.S. even though he ran on no more drilling and shut down the keystone xl pipeline.

(FreedomWire.org) – Just when Californians thought they were getting a break on high gas prices, they shot up again, hitting $7 in some areas. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif) called for an emergency session of the state legislature to propose a tax that will rip off what he calls the “greed of oil companies.” 

“I’m calling for a Special Session to address the greed of oil companies. Gas prices are too high,” Newsom tweeted, adding “time to enact a windfall profits tax directly on oil companies that are ripping you off at the pump.” 

The national average for fuel is about $3.89, while California is seeing prices almost 64 percent higher than the rest of the country. 

However, Newsom’s claim that the high gas prices were simply the result of greed, gave an opening to be mocked for his lack of awareness. 

“Gas prices in Florida are half the price in California. Why is it only California with $7 gas right now!” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-Fla) press secretary asked. 

A gallon of fuel only sets Floridians back by about $3.22 due to a DeSantis’ gas tax holiday that drove prices far down. 

“Only an economically illiterate Democrat would think enacting yet another state tax on petroleum companies will bring about a decrease in gas prices LOL. You couldn’t make up this level of stupid if you tried,” another Twitter user wrote. 

“Really strange how oil companies only get really greedy when they cross the California border,” someone else said. 

Meanwhile, California Assembly GOP leader James Gallagher and Vince Fong, the Assembly Budget Committee vice chair argued for Newsom to not call for the special session. 

The oil industry has pointed to California’s environmental laws and regulations to explain why the state routinely has higher gas prices than the rest of the country. Kevin Slagle, vice president of the Western States Petroleum Association, said Newsom and state lawmakers should “take a hard look at decades of California energy policy” instead of proposing a new tax.

“If this was anything other than a political stunt, the Governor wouldn’t wait two months and would call the special session now, before the election,” Slagle said. “This industry is ready right now to work on real solutions to energy costs and reliability — if that is what the Governor is truly interested in.”

Several states chose to suspend their gas taxes this summer, including Maryland, New York and Georgia. Newsom and his fellow Democrats that control the state Legislature refused to do that, opting instead to send $9.5 billion in rebates to taxpayers — which began showing up in bank accounts this week.

It’s unclear how the tax Newsom is proposing would work. Newsom said he is still working out the details with legislative leaders, but on Friday said he wants the money to be “returned to taxpayers,” possibly by using money from the tax to pay for more rebates.